I wrote this for my kids. I thought it was worth sharing:
Why does now matter?
Because whether or not there is any sort of afterlife is unknowable and not relevant.
Because now is tangible and real, and whether or not we cause ourselves or others pain is something we can reasonably consider and act upon.
Because what happens after now interacts with lots of variables, some of which we have no control over. A little considerate planning over the ones we do have control over makes a big difference to what comes next, but so does knowing how to react when what comes next is a complete surprise.
Because while we have laws, enforcers of laws, communal beliefs about morals, and religions that espouse to regulate and enlighten about them, all of that is constantly in theoretical and practice based flux, and usually socially corrupt at some level. Knowing yourself and choosing to live life as a thinker, learner, and choosing to be kind and open minded is the hardest road to walk. It makes what you do in the moment matter, or just reactive (without being able to trust that you have character to rely upon when needing to react).
Because you will forget. We all forget. The textures, the colors, the tastes, smells, feelings, impressions, sensations, it fades very quickly. What remains are fragments, and we are lucky when those fragments are happy- because so many of them that get lodged into long term memory are negative, for protective reasons our brains do it, but it tends to blot out or take up the space so to speak of a lot of the random happy.
Because it is all we have. I look at the sky and I know life is short. Very very short. There is so much left for me as an individual, and part of a collective species, to know. Or to even begin to grasp. And I know I will never know even a small part of it. It is terrifying and awe-inspiring. And belittling. To know enough to know how short, small, and unconnected to the big picture this time is.
Because despite all that, we have humor. We have the ability to laugh, and to recognize our own absurdity and that of others. It saves us from disappearing into the vastness of time, as much as being truly known by others does. It makes the moment matter because it can be light, as much as it can be dark.
Because it is now, and can be imagined without strict boundaries of measured clock-time, but as having elastic boundaries of what now means.
Because now offers the constant new opportunity to love, be loved, and to care. Even in the smallest way.
It’s all we really have to be certain about, I think.